Paul Jordan has come a long way since he got his first part-time job pushing a broom in Leon’s Burlington warehouse.
Now, 18 years later, Jordan has helped open the Canadian furnishing giant’s first new format store at 218 Henry St. in Brantford in his capacity as general manager.
“It’s been very well received and has definitely exceeded our expectations for a soft opening,” a beaming Jordan said. “Even before we opened up, the anticipation for Leon’s to come to town was very big.”
Eddy Leon, vice-president of merchandising and grandson of company founder Ablan Leon, said Leon’s Furniture Limited’s move to Brantford is a win-win for the company and consumers.
“Our experience in Brantford is not new,” Leon said. “We have been servicing the area since originally opening our Burlington store. We were in Brantford at least one day a week and since we opened our second store on the Hamilton-Stoney Creek border, we found ourselves in Brantford even more.
“We knew we had a customer base in Brantford that was appreciative of our service and product. We wanted to open a showroom in Brantford to take that to a bigger level. We wanted to bring to the community a local footprint.”
Leon’s will officially open to the public with a grand opening event on Thursday, Feb. 21, from noon until 9 p.m. In addition to grand opening specials that offer consumers point-of-sale bonuses in each section of the store, people will see a Leon’s like they have never seen before.
“This doesn’t look like a Leon’s,” Jordan said. “It’s a different layout, an open-concept design that is very unique for Leon’s. There is not a store like this in the chain.”
The Brantford Leon’s models what the company is branding as its new format stores, Leon said.
The new open-concept layout enables the company to better showcase more products in smaller, unobstructed footprints.
“Without the barrier of walls, it gives us better flexibility,” Leon said. “Consumers have been very receptive of the design. They enjoy going in and getting a whole overview of the store.”
When they visit Leon’s, customers will find a wide range of merchandise, from furniture for all rooms of the house, mattresses and electronics to appliances, area rugs and accessories.
The Brantford store employs 38 people, all of whom have been trained on products by manufacturers.
“It’s been some of the best training in my 18 years experience at Leon’s,” Jordan said. “They were able to touch and feel and get to really know the product. Our associates have been preparing for the grand opening since early January.”
Employees have lots of opportunity for promotion and growth with the company, Jordan said. Since working in the warehouse at Leon’s Burlington location, he worked his way through the ranks, helping to open a store in Niagara-on-the-Lake and then becoming general manager of Leon’s original location in Welland.
“Working in Welland where it all started, their expectations are extremely high,” Jordan said. “That’s what I am bringing to the table in Brantford. They have had 104 years to make things right and we want to make sure we are giving the best customer experience to everyone that walks in the door.”
The focus on customer service has contributed to the family-owned company’s longevity, Leon said.
“Our number one claim to fame really has been trying to offer the very best value day in and day out to our customers,” he said. “We prefer to keep our mark-up low and work on volume and, of course, looking after our customers after they have made their purchase.”